There was no warning the Wednesday afternoon 21 years ago would turn indelibly tragic at Barron Collier High baseball field.
Then-Cougars coach Bob Smith and his Barron team, a 33-1 state finalist the season before, were doing what they always were doing — working tirelessly to fine-tune their skills.
Two days away, a date loomed with national powerhouse Miami-Westminster Christian, which had a heralded shortstop named Alex Rodriguez on its roster. Barron was 8-0 at the time.
It was March 18, a day no one on that field will ever forget.
Rick Saggese Sr. had closed his sports collectibles store in Naples early so that he could throw batting practice for the baseball team, on which his son, Rick Jr., was a sophomore. Though pitching behind a protective screen, the elder Saggese was struck in the head by a line drive. The blow to the head had struck the 44-year-old on a spot near a brain aneurysm. It killed him instantly..
In honor of Saggese, Barron will host the 21st annual Rick Saggese Tournament from March 25-29 for high school JV teams.
In memory of his Saggese’s devotion to the game, the Saggese family and Barron Collier have set up a scholarship in his name. The Saggese Scholarship is funded from the weeklong tournament.
Monies raised go into the scholarship fund, and that is awarded every year to a student-athlete. The requirements for the athlete are: must be hardworking individual, have a good GPA, doesn’t have to be the best at his sport, but has to put 100-percent effort.
Anyone interested in helping keep the Saggese memory alive and donate to the scholarship fund, visit www.ricksaggese.com and click “About Coach Rick.” At the bottom of the page, there is a link for the scholarship with PayPal. The donation will go directly into the scholarship fund.
People also can send a check to Barron Collier High School, made out to Saggese Scholarship Fund.
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Combine 360 Youth Sports: One-hour sessions with a qualified Get A Grip Coach. $35 per session. Contact: Al Green 200-7411, email@example.com.
Sports Club Center open gym: Pre-K through 8th grade. Fridays, 6:30-10 p.m. Contact: Kevin Lehman at 570-417-1121 or 239-566-CLUB.
Think Outside the Diamond: Offers baseball and softball mentoring and performance enhancement in a brand-new training facility. One-on-one and group training in skill development, strength, quickness, visual, and confidence building. $65/hour individual or group (up to 4 players) $100/hour. Contact: Coach Rick 777-4435.
Naples Wildfire: Travel team seeking 11U players for spring. Contact: Randy at 293-3081.
Southwest Florida Swamp Rats: Travel team recruiting 10U, 11U, 12U players. Call to schedule a time to meet the coaches and work out with the team. Contact: Coach Keith 222-4602 (Fort Myers); Coach Cain 682-9433 (Naples).
Collier County Youth Baseball: Ages 4-15. Register at naplesyouthbaseball.com.
Elite 12U Travel Baseball: Team looking to add one or two players. Must be league age 12. Travel at least two weekends per month. Contact: 262-8402.
Collier Knights: 13U team needs three players for the spring. Contact: John Landi 289-6297.
Golden Gate Hammerheads: 11U travel team seeks players for fall, ages 10-11. Contact: Walter Rascher at 340-5025.
Naples Cyclones: 11U travel team. Contact: Coach Jon Ayres 398-1769, jonayresbaseball.com, Coach Mos 986-9118.
Southwest Florida Red Hawks: 13U travel team. Contact: 682-3299.
SWFL Hawks: 13U travel team seeks players. Contact: Lou Marsala at 784-5965.
Phenoms: Boys travel team looking for skilled fifth-graders. Contact: Greg Urbancic 262-0270 or PhenomsHoops@gmail.com.
SWFL Youth Basketball League: Ages 5 to 17. Contact: 267-7922, swflbasketball.com.
SWFL Hoosiers: Looking for eighth-grade travel players. Contact: Mark Chlebek 272-1451 or Sam Foggin 407-376-0502.
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K6: Through April 26. Practice during the week and cheer at Saturday flag football games. $75. Contact: sportsclubnaples.org or 290-3430.
South Naples Pirates: Open registration for football and cheer ages 5 to 15. Registration every Tuesday and Thursday from 6-7 p.m. and Saturday from noon-2 p.m. at Eagle Lakes Community Park. $50. Contact: Quincy Harris 687-9252, southnaplespirates.net.
Naples Gators Youth Football & Cheer: Visit naplesgators.com. Contact: 324-9603.
Naples Football League: Non-traveling, full-contact youth league helping to develop skill, discipline and sportsmanship. Visit naplesnfl.org for info.
SW Florida Youth Football Spring League: Begins April 22 and runs through May 18, with league games on May 11 and May 18. Ages 5- to 4 are eligible for Spring League. Age appropriate team with no weight restrictions. Cost is $50. Fall League play starts July 15. Visit www.swflyouthfootball.com. Contact: 431-5793.
K6 Spring Flag Football: Grades 2 through 6. Games Saturday mornings at Gulf Coast HS. Contact: 290-3430 or sportsclubnaples.org.
1-on-1 instruction: Skill position players ages 6 to 18. Visit skillpositionpride.com. Contact: Mike Wexler 273-2693, email@example.com.
Learn to play Roller Hockey: Sundays 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Girls and boys ages 4 to 7. First session free with complimentary use of skates and stick. Veterans Community Park. Contact: 566-2367.
Pro elite hockey skating and skills clinic: Skating and Skills Clinic. Tuesdays 6 to 7 p.m. Girls and Boys ages 8 to 12. Veterans Community Park Call. Contact: 431-7090.
Naples Lacrosse Club Spring Program: Girls, Grade 3 through 5 — Sundays, Naples HS, 1-2 p.m.; girls, Grade 6 through 8 — Sundays, Naples HS, 2-4 p.m.; Wednesdays, Fleischmann Park, 6:15-7:45 p.m. Register at napleslacrosseclub.com. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Naples Youth Rugby League: Girls and boys 10 to 14 (Grades 5 through 8). Contact: Eric Vasquez 289-4943, email@example.com.
Naples Bears High School Rugby Club: Tuesday and Thursday, 4-6 p.m. Practice behind Palmetto Ridge HS. Contact: Reed Jarvi, 777-5741 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook (Naples Bears Rugby).
Florida Fire Juniors: Soccer Sparks Program (First Kicks & Pre-Academy) for boys and girls, ages 4 to 8. Fridays, March 22 through May. 6 to 7 p.m. Veterans Memorial Elementary. Cost is $75, $25 for Optimist members. Registration is available online at www.gotsport.com/asp/application/reg/?ProgramID=18985. Contact: Dwight Morgan email@example.com or 888-278-3707x103.
Florida Fire Juniors: The Club Talent School (CTS) Program. Boys and girls, ages 9 through 13. Fridays, March 22 through May 3. Veterans Memorial Elementary. CTS for boys and girls 14 to 18 years of age (Tues. and/or Fri.) starting, March 19/22 to April 30/May 3. Register at www.gotsport.com/asp/application/reg/?ProgramID=18985. Contact: Dwight Morgan firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-278-3707x103.
NGSLL: Registration is open. Visit ngsll.org.
K6: Contact 405-9191 or sportsclubnaples.org.
South Florida Riptide: Fielding girls travel teams, 10U to 17U for USAV and AAU events. Contact: email@example.com, riptidevolleyball.net.
Naples Wrestling Club: Tuesday and Thursday, 6-8 p.m., Naples HS cafeteria. $60 first eight weeks, $35 each additional eight weeks (no charge for first practice). Contact: Luke Garcia 784-6177, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bear wrestling club: Sign-ups and practice Monday and Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Palmetto Ridge HS cafeteria. Ages 5 to 18. $150. Contact: David Parmenter 353-0265 or Josh McIntosh 938-6316.
Naples Sharks: Mondays and Wednesdays, 6-8 p.m., Gulf Coast HS. $100 (no charge for first practice). Contact: Dominic Del Debbio 816-520-7617, giolexi@ yahoo.com.
Naples Titans: Tuesday and Thursday, 6-8 p.m., Golden Gate HS. $100 (no charge for first practice). Contact: Dominic Del Debbio 816-520-7617, giolexi@ yahoo.com.
Wildcat wrestling club: Practices 6-7:30 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays, Estero HS. First grade through high school. Free. Contact: Matt Brock at 851-7630, email@example.com.
To have an activity listed, mail it to Naples Daily News, Kids Calendar, 1100 Immokalee Road, Naples, FL or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Email preferred by 4:30 p.m. Saturdays.